Pro-independence groups yesterday said that they opposed the upcoming nationwide “inspection tour” by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) and called for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stop applying “double standards” to Taiwan’s engagement with China compared with other foreign countries.
“We have a three-point statement for recent political development. First, Taiwan’s future should be decided by its 23 million people and no one else. Second, Ma should stop his ‘double standards’ and, third, the itinerary of Zhang’s visit to Taiwan should follow conventional diplomatic practice,” Taiwan Society president Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲) told a press conference.
Chang said the arrangement currently seemed to be an official from the central government inspecting local governments, rather than the conventional arrangement for a visiting foreign official.
The announcement was held jointly with representatives from Taiwan Society’s subsidiaries, including the Northern Taiwan Society, the Central Taiwan Society, the Southern Taiwan Society, the Taiwan East Society and the Taiwan Hakka Society.
Zhang is scheduled to visit Taiwan between Wednesday and Friday, and his trip includes visits to New Taipei City, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung, where he is expected to meet with government officials, local business leaders and young people in an attempt to understand more about the so-called “three-middles and the youth” — the middle-to-low-level income classes, residents of central and southern Taiwan, small and medium-sized enterprises, and young people.
Zhang is visiting at a “bad time” because of the TAO’s recent comment that Taiwan’s future should be decided by “all the Chinese people,” which had infuriated the people of Taiwan, Southern Taiwan Society vice president Chang Shun-fa (張順發) said.
Coming at a time when the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and an oversight mechanism for all cross-strait negotiations await deliberation in the legislature, the objective of the visit was even more suspicious, Chang Shun-fa added.
“If Taiwan’s future is to be decided by all Chinese, I encourage the Chinese government to also include Hong Kong, Macau, Xinjiang and Tibet in the discussions,” Central Taiwan Society secretary-general Tung Chien-hung (董建宏) said.
Tung also called on Ma to stop applying “double standards” in his diplomatic dealings with Chin and other countries.
Citing the example of a dispute with Japan over an exhibition of National Palace Museum pieces in Tokyo, in which Ma had threatened to cancel the exhibition if Japan failed to resolve the dispute, Tung said Ma has always been hawkish and aggressive toward other countries and weak against China.
The groups urged Zhang to apologize for the TAO remarks about all Chinese people deciding Taiwan’s future and said they would stage protests against the official during his four-day stay.